Why Video and Social Media Are a Perfect Match

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Video is growing in use and importance among technical professionals of all ages. Fifty-nine percent use YouTube or other video sharing websites for work-related purposes, an increase of 18 percent from two years ago, according to the upcoming “2018 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” research report by IEEE GlobalSpec.

One of the best ways to gain attention for your videos is through social media. Social networks favor video in their algorithms, knowing that this rich content is preferred by their users. In addition, social media allows your audience to easily share your videos with their colleagues and friends.

Video on social media is also an excellent way to connect with the millennial engineer. More millennials than older engineers use social media for work-related purposes, and they are more likely to watch how-to videos/tutorials and training videos on YouTube or other video sharing websites.

According to Forbes, millennials will make up roughly 50 percent of the workforce in the United States by 2020 and 75 percent of the global workforce by 2030. It’s a market you can’t afford to miss out on.

Check out our best advice on how to incorporate video into your social media marketing strategy.

Tips for Incorporating Video into Social Media

  • Your target audience has a clearly demonstrated interest in how-to videos/tutorials, training videos, and product demos. How-to videos are among the most popular search queries on YouTube and they offer great value to your customers.
  • Not all how-to videos have to be long and detailed. You can publish short, 30-second product-tip clips as a great customer support option.
  • Each social media platform—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and others—has its own video features. Make sure you do your research first so you can optimize your videos for the channels that you use.
  • Broadcasting live on social media is a great way to connect with your audience. Live videos are all about authenticity and real-time engagement. A live video should feel like a conversation between you and the viewer.
  • Use video to give an inside look at your company and the people that work there. This not only cultivates the human side of your company and lets customers see some faces of the people they work with, but it also can serve as a recruiting tool if you show that your company is a great place to work.
  • Use video to tease other, more traditional digital content. Much like a movie trailer promotes an upcoming film, you can create a brief video to promote an upcoming webinar, a new whitepaper, a product launch and more.
  • Just like with copy, video needs to be engaging, interesting and unique. It also has to hold the viewer’s attention from beginning to end. Unlike a page of copy, users can’t skim a video in search of what’s of interest to them. It all has to be compelling, or they’ll stop watching.
  • When working with video, think in terms of storytelling. Stories have a beginning, middle, and end. The best stories have a hero and conflict. Make sure there is a plot. Tip: make your customers the heroes of your videos.
  • Use metrics to track the success of your social media video efforts. Some key metrics include number of views, length of view, drop off point, comments and social shares.
  • If you don’t have in-house resources, consider working with media partners to develop and market videos. Their expertise can save you time and money and help ensure your videos are appropriate and relevant to your audience.

The importance of the video/social media dynamic is just one of the key takeaways from the upcoming “2018 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” report. Stay tuned to find out which social media platforms your audience prefers, discover how engineers use social media for work-related purposes and get recommendations for incorporating social media into your marketing mix.

Marketing, General Social Media Video

5 Tips for Building Your Brand on Social Media

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As reported in the upcoming “2018 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” survey by IEEE GlobalSpec, social media continues to be seen as an information resource for engineers and technical professionals. While it isn’t their primary destination for researching a work-related purchase, social media serves as a channel for engineers to access news, discover information about products and technologies, and to learn about suppliers.

At this point, most manufacturers have integrated social media into their overall marketing mix, although most may not know that the most effective use of social media is for branding and awareness. Brand-building is important in the industrial market—no one wants to do business with a company they’ve never heard of or one that might evoke a negative impression.

Follow these five best practices to build and maintain a strong brand and greater awareness through social media:

1. Share Appropriate Content

Social media is ideal for demonstrating thought leadership. You can do this by sharing your company’s perspective on industry issues that are important to your customer base.

Share a combination of articles from the media, your partners’ posts, and your own original content. Whenever you share content from others, always add your own point of view—that’s what shapes your brand.

For your own posts, focus on educating your audience, not selling to them. Whether you’re offering an article, white paper, video, webinar or other content, use the opportunity to polish your reputation as a trusted information resource. One of engineers’ biggest complaints about social media is that there is too much noise and not enough substance. Don’t add to that problem.

2. Add a Human Face

What really can capture the attention of your audience is getting an inside look at what goes on at your company. We’re not talking about divulging trade secrets, but instead showing customers the people they work with, the daily activities that go on and a peek into what life is like at your company.

Show your human side. You can even have a sense of humor (as long as it’s tasteful). People are what make your brand, so this tactic is like a free brand advertisement, without actually being an ad.

3. Create a Dialog

Social media is for connecting and networking with others – rather than just throwing messages out, have a conversation. You can do this by following your customers, partners, and prospects on social media. Comment on and share their posts; it’s a great way to build equity and extend your brand across the market.

Use a social media monitoring tool to be alerted about mentions of your brand. Always reply to any comments or questions on social media that are directed at your company, even the negative ones. Be polite and professional in your responses, no matter what someone might say about you. You can also use monitoring tools to track mentions of products, competitors and anything else you consider relevant to your business.

4. Follow Your Playbook

You should have a playbook that provides guidelines to all of your employees who post about your company on social media. The purpose of this document is to clearly convey high-level social media goals; flesh out details about which channels to participate in; provide clarity on who, how and when to respond, and define success metrics for reporting and program refinement.

The playbook can also offer guidance on what your team can and cannot share or say about your company on social media. This helps create a consistent voice for your company on social media and can elevate and protect your brand image.

5. Stick with It

A social media account that is out of date or hasn’t been updated with fresh posts or content in months can tarnish your brand. If a potential customer comes across your stagnant social media presence and sees that it has been neglected, they might very well wonder what else your company neglects.

Don’t try to be everywhere on social media. Just choose those platforms that work best for you and that you can manage within your marketing portfolio. The two most popular platforms for engineers and technical professionals are LinkedIn and Facebook, so a good idea might be to focus your resources there.

Would you like to know the other ways your customers and prospects use social media, and how you can better target your audience? The answer to those questions, as well as others, will be revealed in the upcoming 2018 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector report. Stay tuned!

Marketing, General Social Media

How to Freshen Up Your Social Media Marketing

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Social media has solidified its place as an established marketing channel in the industrial sector. Social media posts are the leading type of content that manufacturing marketers rely on for content marketing purposes, with a 92 percent adoption rate.

Social media is also the second leading channel and second most effective channel for distributing content, after email. LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook are the top three channels marketers say are most effective for achieving their objectives.

At the same time, many companies are stuck in the social media doldrums. Not much is happening. Engagement is low. They’re not sure what to do to freshen up their efforts and get more from social media. Here are some ideas to help you get results.

Revisit Your Strategy

You don’t use social media just because your competitors do, right? You use it to achieve specific objectives. Document those objectives and use them to make all other social media decisions. Most industrial companies use social media to expand brand awareness, educate their followers or to build a thought leadership position. You can also generate engagement opportunities, but there are more effective marketing tactics to do that.

Cut or Cultivate

When social media momentum began to pick up, many marketers created profiles on every new social media that came along. If this happened at your company, it’s time to make decisions. Cut out the channels that you don’t use or that your audience doesn’t use. Commit to cultivating a stronger presence on the ones that you do use—or want to make better use of going forward.

Optimize Your Profiles

Once you decide which social media channels to keep or invest in, make sure you completely and consistently fill out the profiles. Your brand and what you stand for should be clear and your company description should be consistent across channels. Use important keywords in your profiles. Fill out every available field the profile offers.

Find the Passion

Social media often becomes one more item on the marketer’s to-do list. Maybe it’s time to turn over your social media efforts to a colleague or even a college intern that has a real passion for social media and the skills to make the most out of your company’s social media presence. If that’s not an option, remember to take the time to put that excitement back into your social media updates. If you’re bored, your followers will be, too.

Update Your Content Approach

If you use social media simply to promote your products and services, you won’t get much traction. Instead, focus on the content that’s of interest to your audience. Most of your content should be curated—shares and reposts by influencers and thought leaders in your industry that will help keep your audience up on trends. A smaller percentage of posts should be original educational content that you create. The smallest percentage should be promotional content.

Develop a Personality

Social media content should be more informal and conversational than other marketing tactics. Use a human touch. Create an interesting voice or perspective. Tell stories, appeal to emotions. Don’t be afraid to use “We” and “Our” to demonstrate there are people behind the posts.

Follow your Customers and Prospects

Not only can you gain insight and intelligence by following your customers and prospects on social media, you can engage in conversations with them. Comment on their posts. Offer occasional advice. If you follow them, chances are high that they will follow you in return. Next thing you know a relevant community is forming.

Enlist Your Employees

A great way to expand your reach is to create pre-approved content and encourage your company’s employees to share the content on their personal social media profiles. People by nature pay more attention to what their friends post than what a company posts. Make sure you provide guidelines to employees about sharing the content and responding to any comments they might get.

Focus on Relevant Measurement

Measurement is the only way you can intelligently manage social media initiatives and make improvements to your program. It’s not that difficult, as long as you understand your goals for using social media and pay attention to the metrics that matter. These are the four metrics that matter most:

  • Reach—Followers, likes, mentions. It’s easy to measure reach, which is good for your brand. But the quality of reach is important: a mention from an industry analyst has more value than a photo that someone likes.
  • Engagement— Twitter re-tweets, Facebook wall posts or shares, blog responses, comments on LinkedIn discussions, length of video views, etc. Engagement measures the relevancy of your content.
  • Sentiment—Are you getting positive, negative or neutral reactions to your content? Sentiment measures the qualitative, emotional reaction to your content and company on social media channels.
  • Conversions— To measure conversions, your social media content must include a call to action: register for a webinar, download a white paper, watch a video, etc. Tracking social media conversions not only gives you straight numbers, it gives you data for comparison purposes across integrated programs. What resulted in more conversions: your tweet or your e-newsletter advertisement?

What other ways have you tried to reinvigorate your social media channels? Let us know!

Marketing, General Social Media

Five Marketing Myths Debunked

We’ve all heard “facts” about B2B marketing that are based on misconceptions or assumptions. You might have read or heard that something is true when in fact research data or your own analysis can prove that it’s not.

Basing your marketing decisions on myths can lead to subpar results. To help you improve your marketing effectiveness, here are five common marketing myths, debunked.

Myth #1: People don’t attend webinars on Mondays or Fridays

Research conducted by HubSpot found that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 1 or 2 pm EST are the best times to host webinars, but the best time can vary widely based on your time zone, your audience’s time zone, their schedule, and more.

ClickDimensions Marketing, after experimenting with different times to hold webinars, offers this advice: “If you can offer a variety of times, you will get a great turn out and appeal to viewers in other countries for having made the effort. If you think about the average webinar, the majority of the effort goes into promoting it and assembling the content. Thus, if you’re going to go to all the effort, why not run the live webinar a few times during the day?”

Another issue with following the midweek trend for webinars is that you face more competition for your audience’s attention. Other companies are also hosting webinars on those days. It’s worth experimenting with a Monday or Friday webinar to find out what your draw is like.

Again, testing different times and days of the week is your best approach. Every business is unique—as is your audience—and what works for one company may not for another.

Myth #2: Tuesday through Thursday mornings are the best times to send email

It’s been common knowledge throughout the industry that people tend to open their email in the mornings and that Mondays and Fridays are days to avoid sending email. But as customers are becoming more and more mobile, email opens occur at all hours, on all days, and on all devices.

According to Entrepreneur, for B2B emails aimed at entrepreneurs and workaholics, the weekend is the best time to send emails. Saturdays yield the highest open and click-through rates. For those who work regular hours and don’t check email outside of work, the most opens and clicks occur Tuesday through Thursday.

Even though the weekend was not the most popular time to send emails, those who opened were much more likely to engage with the emails they received, and click through or purchase.

Again, experiment with different sending times and days, and track results to see what works best. Perform an A/B test using only the day or time as the variable to provide some insight.

Myth #3: When it comes to content, more is always better

Though it feels like the general advice about content marketing is “create as much content as possible,” the truth is that it’s better to have targeted, relevant content than simply more of it. The Content Marketing Institute reported that although the majority (88 percent) of B2B marketers use content marketing as a strategy, the median time people spend on an article is 37 seconds. That means your 3,000-word article is skimmed for a few seconds and then dismissed.

The solution is to focus on content quality that will keep your readers engaged.  Understand your audience’s information needs and content consumption habits, and create content that fits those needs. That way, your content efforts won’t be wasted.

Myth #4: Engineers don’t make B2B purchasing decisions

Not true. The 2016 Industrial Buy Cycle survey conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions found that purchasing is a collaborative effort, with staff engineers and engineering managers having the majority of influence. Budget authority resides throughout the organization—not just with senior managers.

For marketers, this means you must communicate with the entire engineering team, including operations, corporate management, and purchasing. In addition to your overall marketing message, develop a strategy to communicate with each of these different personas, make a connection with them, and address their key concerns.

Myth #5: Social media results aren’t measurable

Like most things digital, social media is immensely measurable. Social media analytics and marketing automation platforms can surface meaningful numbers and benchmarks to guide your practice.

The key is to align your B2B objectives with your social metrics. Most industrial marketers use social media to increase brand awareness and distribute content. Shares, mentions, comments and likes can all provide brand awareness measurement. Clicks and download of content can demonstrate the effectiveness of content marketing. But if you’re expecting to measure new customers gained exclusively through social media outreach, you will be disappointed. Social media is only one of multiple tactics and touches that must work within an integrated plan designed to win new business.

That’s it for this edition of marketing myth busting. What other fallacies have you uncovered through your own data and analysis? Let us know!

Content Marketing E-Mail Marketing Social Media Webinars

Social Media Can Give a Boost to Content Marketing

 The results of the recently-published IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions research report “2016 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” show how your audience of engineers and technical professionals uses social media. Although social media isn’t a primary channel for this group for researching work-related purchases, social media does have its place in the engineer’s work routine—and in your marketing mix.

Engineers and technical professionals are passive users of social media, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Rather than creating, posting and sharing content on social media, or starting and participating in discussions, engineers prefer to read and watch. Their primary activities on social media are reading product reviews and industry news, researching suppliers, keeping abreast of new technologies, and watching videos. They are content consumers on social media, not content creators.

Your target audience’s preferences for consuming content should be a clear signal to you: social media channels are an effective way to promote and distribute content. Your audience’s behavior also aligns with the social media mandate: content is the nourishment that keeps your social media program alive.

Have you ever visited a company’s social media account and discovered it hasn’t been updated with fresh posts in months? No doubt you came away with a negative impression. It’s better not to have a social media presence at all than to have one you let die on the vine. On the other hand, if you keep posting fresh content to social media, your audience will consume it.

Promote Content on Social Media Channels
There are a number of ways to take advantage of social media in your content marketing efforts:

• Social media updates tend to be short and frequent. You wouldn’t post an entire white paper or press release on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Instead write a teaser and link to the full document, using social media to direct your audience to the content you are promoting.
• If a review of your product appears in the media, you should immediately be highlighting and linking to it on your social media accounts.
• Has your company scheduled an educational webinar, produced a new how-to video, or just published a new thought leadership article? This is the type of valuable content you should promote through social media.
• On video sharing sites, engineers like to watch how-to videos, tutorials and demos. Create an account on YouTube or another video sharing site and post product demos and how-to videos.

Integrate Social Media into your Marketing Plan
If social media is an integrated and essential component of your marketing plan, your marketing results should improve. More engineers and technical professionals will be exposed to your content and your brand, and you will continue to create a positive impression by keeping your social media channels active and a reliable resource for your audience to access the most up-to-date content you produce.

On the strategic level, map social media efforts to marketing and business objectives. On the tactical level, include social media links (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) on your website and in newsletters, and promote your social media presence within your established marketing programs. Finally, be sure to include social media as an integral component of your content marketing efforts.

Suppliers that have a presence on Engineering360.com can include their social media links within their company profile pages. This helps build awareness and relevancy for their social media efforts. Suppliers can also add video content to their Engineering360.com company profile.

Social Media

The Pros and Cons of Social Media

 As with any marketing channel, social media has its pros and cons as part of your marketing mix. Results from the recently published IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions research report: “2016 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” reveal a number of key insights that can help you better assess social media’s role in your marketing plan and the level of resources you should devote to it.

On the Plus Side
One benefit of social media is that its use in the industrial sector has stabilized over the last few years. Engineers and technical professionals have clearly demonstrated their preferences in terms of social media.

LinkedIn is the leading social media platform for this audience, followed in order by Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Twitter. These preferences are consistent across all age groups. Only seven percent use Instagram; only six percent use Pinterest.

Engineers and technical professional use social media for a variety of purposes. The top work-related activities on social media are reading content or product/industry news, researching a supplier, watching a video, searching for contacts, following a company or group, and seeking a recommendation on a product/supplier. Fifty-four percent have used social media to find product reviews; 52 percent to keep abreast of latest company/product news/technologies. The most popular use of social media overall is found among the 18-34 age group, with 67 percent using social media to find new jobs/employers.

This demonstrated behavior can help spark ideas for marketers about how to connect with this audience on social media. For example, social media is an effective channel for posting news, product information, videos or other content, such as white papers or Q&As. In order to elevate your company’s profile and attract a new generation of engineers, you might want to post employment opportunities on LinkedIn or other social media sites.

On the Downside
While there is plenty of opportunity for marketers to take advantage of social media in their marketing mix, you may want to proceed with prudence. With the variety of activities performed on social media among engineers and technical professionals, this audience spends only a small percentage of their time on these platforms.

Sixty-two percent spend less than one hour of work time per week on social media. None of the activities they perform on social media take place more than a few times a month. LinkedIn is the only social media platform that a majority (65 percent) of engineers and technical professionals maintain an account on. All others have a less than 50 percent adoption rate.

The fact is that engineers and technical professionals experience a number of challenges using social media for work-related purposes. Sixty-four percent say that using search engines, supplier websites, online catalogs and other methods are more efficient than social media. Fifty-five percent say there is too much noise and not enough substance on social media. Thirty-eight percent say they can’t find useful content or that social media isn’t reliable. This audience still vastly prefers general search engines, online catalogs and supplier websites for researching a potential work-related purchase.

Another issue is that it’s difficult to actively engage your audience of engineers and technical professionals on social media—and in many ways social media is all about engagement and interactivity. Of those who have a LinkedIn account and belong to a group, only 27 percent participate in discussions; only six percent start a discussion. Activities such as posting or sharing an article, image or video on a social media platform take place at most a few times per year. Seventy percent never post or share any news or information about their own company on their social media accounts.

The conclusion to draw is that because social media is established in the industrial sector, you should develop a social media strategy and integrate social media into your overall marketing plan. However, keep in mind that other digital channels—online catalogs, your website, search engines, email, webinars—should get the bulk of your marketing investments, and that social media should be used primarily as a complement to your efforts on those channels.

Social Media

The State of Social Media in 2016

 July is social media month at the Marketing Maven. We’ll be publishing a series of posts about the role and impact that social media plays in the industrial sector, how engineers and technical professionals use social media for work-related purposes, and how marketers can effectively incorporate social media into their marketing strategy.

Along the way, we’ll regularly reference results from the new IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions research report: “2016 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector.” You can download your complimentary copy here.

The Seas Have Settled
Not that long ago social media was on the cutting edge and was considered a disruptive digital channel. Marketers scurried to understand and use social media. Some dove in and tried every new platform that came along. Others stayed back, hesitant to get their feet wet. Smart marketers maintained their strategic perspective—they tested the waters, measured the wind, and charted an effective, goal-based course through the turbulent social media sea.

Today, the seas have calmed. Over the past seven years, the use of social media has grown, stabilized, and now has become business-as-usual in the industrial sector. Social media has found its position as an information resource for engineers and technical professionals. For example:

• Sixty-five percent maintain an account on LinkedIn, the most popular social media platform among this industrial audience.
• Fifty-two percent use social media to keep abreast of the latest company/product news/technologies.
• Eighty-six percent of those who use video sharing websites such as YouTube watch how-to videos/tutorials; 85 percent view product demos
• A greater percentage of engineers and technical professionals in the 18-34 year-old age range maintain accounts on nearly all platforms—Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube—as compared to their 35+ counterparts

Yet for all this social media activity, its impact in the engineering workplace is not overly significant. Social media is part of the media mix, for sure, but 82 percent of engineers and technical professionals spend no more than two hours per week on social media for work-related purposes, with no major difference between the various age groups. Very few engineers contribute to social media in terms of creating and posting content. Seventy percent never do. This is an audience of passive social media users, who prefer to read and watch.

Other Channels Take Precedence
Engineers and technical professionals consistently report that for work-related purposes they find other digital channels more efficient than social media. The top four valuable resources for engineers and technical professionals researching a work-related purchase have remained the same year over year, with general search engines, online catalogs, word of mouth and supplier websites topping the list. Among social media platforms, Google+ and LinkedIn ranked highest for researching a work purchase. Facebook, SlideShare and Twitter have the least value.

Does this mean that social media is overhyped and a waste of the industrial marketer’s time? Not at all. But it does mean that engineers and technical professionals have clear preferences, and that you should view social media as a supplemental channel to the more established and proven digital channels in your marketing mix.

The way to approach social media marketing is no different than other marketing. You must first define your strategy and goals for using social media. Goals may include increased brand awareness, recognized thought leadership, or community engagement and expansion. It’s important to realize that social media is not a primary driver of leads and sales. Again, think of it as complementing other marketing strategies, such as a vehicle for distributing content.

With goals established you can develop a plan to achieve them. And although social media accounts are free—open a new one, anytime, anywhere—they take time and resources to grow, or even to maintain. Consider what level of resources you should devote to social media and what metrics you should track to determine your success. The takeaway is to use social media, but not at the expense of your other digital marketing channels.

Social Media

Five Ways to Encourage Employees to Spread the Word on Social Media

 Employees in the industrial sector are already active social media users. Sixty-six percent of engineers and other industrial professionals have a profile on LinkedIn, according to the IHS Engineering360 research report “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector.” Forty-nine percent have a Facebook account. These percentages are even higher among technical professionals 18-34 years old.

Yet only one-third of technical professionals ever share or post news or information about their company to their social networks. That represents a large opportunity gap. If you can get engineers, sales people, customer service reps and other employees to post about your company on their own social media accounts, you will gain an extended team of social media ambassadors that can help spread the word and increase the visibility of your brand, products and services.

In this era of competitive content marketing, the more people you have on your team to get the word out, the greater advantage you’ll have in winning mindshare with your audience. Plus, using employees as social media team members results in free exposure for your company, expands your reach to a wider audience and provides the cache that each post is being personally recommended by a professional in your company.

Here are five ways to encourage your employees to participate:

1. Educate employees on your brand and social media program
Any employees who might post about your company on their social media accounts should understand the meaning of your brand and your company’s core mission and values. Understanding the essence of the brand and your company’s purpose provides employees with a yardstick to measure anything they might want to post on their social media accounts. Embracing your company’s mission and core values also helps employees to be generally more engaged in their work.

Also, like any good recruiter, you should pitch your social media program to employees to get them to participate. Depending on the size of your company, you might customize your pitch for each department, or you might introduce your concept to everyone at the same time. One of those free “lunch & learn” sessions tends to draw a crowd.

2. Develop social media guidelines and best practices
While the goal of using employees as social media ambassadors is to spread the word about your company’s news and initiatives, social media is as much about the individual as the brand. Each person has their own style and voice, and although you don’t want to discourage individual style, you should provide guidelines to make sure anything they post or share about your company is appropriate.

Important topics to cover when setting guidelines include how to respond to any negative comments (no fighting, no arguing), how to avoid disclosing confidential information, and recognizing what’s appropriate (or not) to share on social media. Instill in employees a few simple rules such as using common sense, thinking carefully before posting, and being polite and professional at all times.

3. Provide curated, approved content
How do you get those two-thirds who never post news or information about their company on their own social media accounts to start participating? You make it easy for them. One way is to provide a library of curated, approved content and status updates for them to share. This also helps you maintain more control over the message being disseminated.

You could create a central repository where all social media content resides. Add entire posts to the repository: headline, copy, link, etc. All employees need to do is copy and paste to their own accounts. You can also use this repository as a place where employees can offer their own ideas for posts, provide links, ask questions and more. As employees sense they are being heard and their ideas are taken seriously, participation should increase.

4. Encourage employees to “like” your company’s social media accounts
Encourage employees to like or follow your company’s accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media properties. This simple step helps spread the word because your company’s updates will now appear in their social media feeds, exposing your message to a broader audience and potentially increasing the number of people who follow you.

5. Share social media statistics
One way to boost enthusiasm among employees who become social media ambassadors for your company is to share statistics. Seeing for themselves how their participation might be helping to expand your reach and achieve goals will instill a sense of pride and motivate them to continue posting and sharing on your company’s behalf. A large part of social media’s effectiveness is “showing up” on a regular basis and staying involved. It’s easy to do when you’re getting results.

Social Media

Seven Steps to Cleaning Up Your Social Media Presence

 Many industrial companies got started with social media by having dedicated employees with social media skills experiment with various platforms—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. There might not have been an overall strategy or vision attached to social media efforts. Some social media accounts may have languished, while others stayed active. In addition, other people in your company might have opened new accounts: customer service started their own, an executive or two took to Twitter, human resources began recruiting on LinkedIn.

You can see how easy it might be to end up spread out on social media, with no centralized control or guiding strategy. It’s time to change that. With social media having established itself in the industrial sector, your company needs a unified social media strategy, a consistent brand and a relevant message. Here’s how you can clean up your social media accounts and get the most out of your social media efforts.

1. Perform an Audit
The first thing to do is take control by identifying and documenting all of your social media profiles, both official and unofficial. The easy ones to find are your official company page on Facebook or LinkedIn. But did you try out Instagram once and never return? Start a YouTube channel and then forgot about it?

Look also for unofficial accounts by performing a general search for your brand on all the major social networks. You might find accounts that have been set up by well-meaning employees or even by rogues and spammers.

2. Check Your Social Media Strategy & Goals
Once you’ve compiled a list of all social media profiles associated with your company, see how each one fits with your social media strategy and goals. Are you trying to build thought leadership, get the most followers possible, interact with customers and prospects, or generate engagement opportunities? Ask how each existing account fits in with your goals, and prune out the ones that are not essential.

3. Understand How Your Audience Values Social Media
How does your social media presence align with the way your customers and prospects use social media? For example, LinkedIn is the most popular social media outlet with 66 percent of engineers and technical professionals maintaining an account the platform, according to the IHS Engineering360 research report, “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector.” For technical professionals researching a work-related purchase, Google+ and LinkedIn ranked highest in value of all social media platforms. Facebook, SlideShare and Twitter have the least value.

4. Choose the Accounts to Keep
Based on steps 1-3 above, you can decide which social media profiles you should keep active and which you should close down. If you have followers for some of the accounts being closed, you will need to notify them and ask them to follow a different account. Some social media platforms, such as Facebook, offer the ability to merge accounts and pages that you manage.

5. Identify Your Social Media Team
Depending on the size of your company and available resources, your social media team might be one person or it might be a cross-functional team of people. You’ll need to know who’s on the team and what role each person will play. It’s also a good time to determine login credentials and permission levels for the various social media accounts. You probably don’t want a free-for-all when it comes to posting social media updates. If you don’t have a set of guidelines for social media publishing, now is the time to create one, to help ensure inappropriate content is not publicly posted and that all published content is aligned with your social media goals.

6. Update All Profiles
Time to freshen up. Banners and backgrounds don’t have to be the same on every social media account, but they should complement each other and work with your brand. Make sure company descriptions are clear, consistent and offer value to your audience. Don’t just describe your company—give people a reason to follow you, such as promising tips & tricks, or a new how-to article every week.

Fill out all the fields on your profiles. Update bios and photos of contributors. Check all links to other pages (also check the links on social sharing buttons on your website).

7. Consider Using a Social Media Management Tool
If you’re making a commitment to cleaning up your social media presence and plan to integrate social media with your other marketing efforts, you might want to use a social media management tool to plan and schedule posts across platforms, track followers and monitor your results. There are a number of tools available to help you with this task, based on your individual social media needs.

Social Media

The Compelling Reason to Use Video in Your Marketing Mix

 Seventy-six percent of technical professionals watch work-related videos on video sharing sites such as YouTube, according to the 2015 “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector Survey” from IHS Engineering360.

That’s a huge majority of your target audience, and a compelling reason to use video in your marketing mix. Not only can you connect with customers and prospects using video, it’s now easier and more affordable than ever to capture, edit and publish video. There may still be times when a professionally produced and polished video is appropriate, such as for a corporate or investor presentation, but many industrial marketers are finding success and a following with an inexpensive video camera and an upload to YouTube.

The most effective marketing videos tend to be short (1-3 minutes) and highly targeted. They focus on a single topic or concept, such as a brief product demo, or three questions with an expert, for example. In addition, short, focused videos with targeted keywords rank better for search optimization than broad, general videos.

What is Your Purpose?
As with any marketing tactic, start by defining your purpose. This will not only help you create a more concise and compelling video, it will guide you toward the metrics you need to track in order to measure your results. Your purpose for creating a video might be:

• Generate an engagement opportunity
• Build brand awareness
• Educate the market about a trend or new technology
• Demonstrate a product or technical concept
• Entertain

Whatever your purpose, there are a group of metrics that can help you determine how successful your video is. These include:

• Number of follow-throughs on your call-to-action (many videos end with a call to action, such as contacting a supplier or accessing additional content)
• Number of views
• Length of view (it’s important to know how many viewers dropped off before the video reaches the end)
• Number of shares
• Number of comments

Choose the metrics that are aligned with your goals, and track them for as long as the video is part of your campaign.

Most Popular Video Types for Industrial Professionals
Engineers and technical professionals have a strong preference for specific types of videos. According to the “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector Survey,” the most popular types of content to watch on video-sharing websites are how-to videos/tutorials (82 percent), product demos (79 percent) and training videos (70 percent).

What each of these video types has in common is that they are information-dense. Your audience is seeking valuable, relevant information to help them do their jobs better.

Other types of videos may also be effective and popular with your audience, such as brief interviews with influential people or a customer testimonial. If appropriate, you can produce a video tour of your company, showing off your advanced production capabilities, processes or operations. Remember that customers are not just buying your product, but buying into your entire company. An insider look is a great tool. You can also create videos by recording presentations and keynote addresses for customers who were not able to attend an event.

Where to Post Video
YouTube is the most popular place to have an account for posting your videos, and the most widely used by engineers and technical professionals. You can add the YouTube code into your website and blogs and have the videos run within those pages. If you produce a library of videos, you might want to create a page on your website where they can all be archived by type or subject matter.

Video embedded directly into email can help you create differentiation in your customers’ crowded inboxes. Many email marketing service providers offer this capability, as well as the ability to ensure emails render well on mobile devices.

What’s Different about Video
Marketers have learned how to write for the web by understanding that their audience doesn’t read web pages beginning to end, but scans pages for content of interest. That’s why good web writing includes headlines, bulleted lists and short statements.

There’s no such scanning option with video. You have to keep your audience engaged, opening credits to fade out. That’s why short videos are more effective than longer ones. It’s also good to keep in mind the words of suspense-master Alfred Hitchcock, who once said that a good story is a lot like life but with the dull parts taken out. Trim your videos of anything dull, and you’ll keep your audience interested, perhaps even on the edge of their seats.

Marketing, General Social Media Video